12:00 AM, February 09, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 09, 2013

Shahbagh rally unites nation

Politicians inspired

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Hasan Jahid Tusher

The ruling Awami League believes the countrywide movement demanding capital punishment to war criminals has led to a new beginning to end the unfinished revolution of the Liberation War in 1971.
Terming it a step forward in uniting the progressive and democratic forces, AL says the movement will once again draw a clear line between the pro- and anti-liberation forces.
"The movement will inspire a qualitative change in the country's politics," said AL presidium member Obaidul Quader referring to the movement at Shahbagh.
He said such spontaneous movement had not been seen in Bangladesh since the mass upsurge in 1969 and the liberation war in 1971. Through this movement it would be easier to tell who hold the spirit of 1971 and who of 1947.
Quader, also the communications minister, yesterday told The Daily Star that the youths had given their message loud and clear. "They have expressed no-confidence in the prevailing ill politics. As politicians we have a lot to learn from this."
Meanwhile, the main opposition BNP, which had been doubtful about the spirit of the movement and had described it as government-motivated, yesterday said the country had once again proved that it was still able to wake up and unite in any crisis.
BNP Standing Committee Member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman said, "I personally support this movement. We oppose those who committed crimes against humanity."
However, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir kept from making any comment on the Shahbagh movement yesterday, when journalists asked for his reaction. He was placing wreath at the grave of his party founder and former president Ziaur Rahman in the capital.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh, AL's ally in the 14-party combine, said those who raised questions about the war crimes trial had remained isolated from the people.
Its president Rashed Khan Menon said the countrywide movement proved that the nation was united in the war crimes trial issue. "It is evident that the trial is not a partisan agenda, rather a national one," said Menon while addressing a party gathering before attending the Shahbagh movement in the capital.
Party insiders said AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had advised her party's top leaders not to speak at the Shahbagh demonstration, as the opposition might try to give the spontaneous movements a political colour.
The directives came Thursday night after a few of the ruling party leaders and ministers, including AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, were mistreated by some of the demonstrators of the mass movements.

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